Apparently, The Queen Is Dead, and has been for 30 years . . .
Glasgow’s O2 ABC took us back to the golden era of indie with The Smyths, who paid homage to the legendary Mancunian band and their iconic 1986 album, “The Queen Is Dead”.
Naturally, the title track kicked off proceedings; the nostalgia in the venue was so thick that you could taste it, and the dotted Smiths T-shirts amongst the crowd and the war-cry like cheering when the band took to the stage confirmed from the get-go that The Smiths may be long gone, but their legacy has lasted the test of time.
The setlist lifted pivotal tracks from The Smiths short (but sweet) career as well as the 10-tracks that shape their famous third LP; “Panic” created chaos, “Girlfriend In A Coma” saw the hundreds-strong crowd bob in perfect time, “Frankly, Mr Shankly” had middle-age men huddle and sing along, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” provoked some moves that Morrissey would have been proud of, while “I Know It’s Over” brought the entire room together in mournful spirit.
The Smyth’s Morrissey, aka Graham Sampson, is every inch the controversial Smiths front-runner; Sampson is a more approachable Morrissey, perfectly executing the required flourishing that The Smiths frontman is known and loved for in the perfect balance of sophistication and narcissism, and if I had closed my eyes, no-one would have convinced me that it wasn’t Stephen Patrick Morrissey singing onstage.
I am human, and I need to be loved
The Smiths iconic track, “How Soon Is Now?” concluded the show, bringing the trip down memory lane to an end; most of the crowd lingered long after the band had vacated the stage suggesting that I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t ready to leave behind girlfriends in comas, double decker bus crashes, meetings at the cemetary gates and charming men.
The last word on a possible Smiths reunion came from Morrissey in 2014 when he claimed, “I don’t know anyone who would want a Smiths reunion”. Clearly, even Morrissey isn’t clued up on the legacy or impact on his former band 30 years on; for now, however, we have The Smyths who aren’t simply “the next best thing”, but the best we’ve got.